KBS Reference Desk: Decrease in Compensation

Q:        I recommended renewal of my high school principal’s contract but intend to reassign him to the junior high campus, which will move him down a step on our administrator salary schedule.  Am I required to provide written notice of the anticipated reduction in compensation before the school year begins? Even if it’s only a few hundred dollars?

 A:        Yes, employees must be provided written notice of any reduction in overall compensation between contract years prior to the 45th calendar day before the first day of instruction.

The Commissioner of Education has interpreted the Education Code as permitting school districts to “reduce an element of its teachers’ salaries after the unilateral resignation deadline as long as the teachers’ total compensation was not reduced.” Thus far, the Commissioner has not specifically excluded any one or more components of compensation in the calculation. As such, we recommend written notice of any reduction, however slight, occurring between contract years, whether the result of a reassignment, removal of a stipend or reduction in number of days worked. Timely notice requires communication to the employee in writing at least 45 calendar days prior to the first day of instruction. This rule follows the 45 day “penalty-free” resignation deadline, requiring a school district to give notice of an impending salary reduction while the educator still has time to contemplate the reduction and voluntarily resign.  Tex. Educ. Code §21.210.

Note that if your district is beginning the school year early pursuant to a District of Innovation Plan, your 45 day deadline could be as early as mid-June. All decisions regarding 2022-2023 assignments must be made in sufficient time to meet this deadline. Also critical is the actual wording of the notice letter, which must be both formal and specific, e.g. it must come from someone in a position of authority and indicate the actual reduction anticipated. A notice indicating that the employee “will be paid according to a salary schedule adopted by the board” (or other vague terms) has been held insufficient.

            For additional questions regarding reassignments and reductions in overall compensation, please contact your local school district attorney.

Related Posts

Recent Articles

KBS Reference Desk: TOMA Social Gatherings Conventions
June 17, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Volunteers Under Guardian Plan
June 10, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: DOI and Certification
June 3, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: FML Leave Over the Summer
May 27, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Participation in Graduation Ceremonies
May 13, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Temporary Custodians of Record – TPIA
May 6, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Driving Students to Polls
April 29, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Authority to Create New Position
April 22, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Booster Club Raffle
April 15, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Returning a Teacher to Probationary Status
April 8, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Termination of Probationary Contract While On Leave
April 1, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Long COVID and Special Education Referrals
March 25, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Pay During Weather Closure
March 18, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Nepotism
March 11, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: New SBOE Rules on Contract Abandonment
March 4, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Web Accessibility
February 25, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Political Advocacy Prohibitions
February 18, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Pay During Weather Closure
February 11, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: House Bill 2581 Procurement Updates
February 4, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: CDL Waivers for Bus Drivers
January 28, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Interstate Travel Liability and Travel Forms Best Practices
January 21, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Updated Stay at Home Periods
January 14, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: On Call Employees Over Holidays
December 17, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Holiday Decorations
December 10, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Removal of Library Books
December 3, 2021